EU ‘making things up’ in Brexit trade dispute as MP rages ‘They are wrong’

George Eustice denies issues with lorries being held at borders

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George Eustice has acknowledged some “teething problems” had caused some disruption for businesses trading with the European Union but the Minister also strongly defended the benefits of leaving the EU for farmers, fishermen and others in the food export sector. When challenged over the EU ban on shellfish by Channel 4’s Cathy Newman the Environment Secterary fumed at the EU commission, accusing them of making stuff up after the bloc announced a post-Brexit block on live oysters, clams, scallops and mussels.

Mr Eustice said: “Generally speaking it has been teething problems in terms of people’s readiness to use the export health certificates and to familiarise themselves with that.

“We have had a specific issue on bivalve mollusc that is muscles and cockles and oysters in particular where they have been built on a model of going to restaurants in places like France and being purified whilst on site.

“The EU originally had said that that trade could continue, their own laws provide for it to continue and actually refer to a certificate that would enable it to continue.

“But they have had a change of heart, a policy change, and though there is no legal impediment to this trade the European Union told us a number of weeks ago they weren’t going to allow it to continue.”

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Pressed on claims for Brussel that the shellfish policy was long-established and not the result of a  “change of heart,” the Minister argued the EU had changed its position.

He told Channel 4: “It is somewhere they have changed position.

“They are not right, they are wrong. We do know what they say, we are very familiar with this body of law we lived with it for 50 years and we have got technical experts in this area.

“We have actually discussed it with the Commission and the Commission had told us that the trade could continue.

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“Are they just making it up then ?” asked the host Newman.

“Yes,” replied the Environment Secretary.

“They told us a type of export health certificate that could be used and their own public health and animal health laws do provide for the trade to continue.

“What happened is that the Commission decided and this was a late decision, that they only took on the last week of February, that they were actually going to change their mind and not allow that trade to continue after all.

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According to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson is now planning to put restrictions on certain EU goods such as mineral water and seed for potatoes. 

UK ministers had allegedly been given assurances that a meeting would be held to resolve the matter but due to the intransigence of the EU, Westminster is now drawing up plans labelled as ‘Water Wars’.

The EU had secured a temporary agreement on mineral water and potato seed until June but that could now be in jeopardy. 

In a huge blow to the sector, shellfish can only be exported to the EU only if it is treated in a purification plant. 

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